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Service Cats: What Happens To Your Pets When You Die

MeOW  Welcome to Service Cats and Everything Feline on Furidays. Are ya’ll ready fur the long weekend? We’ll be celebratin’ mommy’s birthday here, which means lots of huggin’, cuddlin’ and luvvin’. We purray that any of you travelin’ have a safe and uneventful trip and return home rejuvinated. Alright, we got that outta the way so let’s get back to the reason you pawed by today. We’ve got a great topic fur ya’, so stay tuned. You can always ketch up on any post in the series by clickin’ the links on our Training Tips and Everything Feline page from the menu. And ‘member to leave your questions or post suggestions in the comments below or send us an e-mail via our Contact page. There’s no stupid question, so ask away. Just ‘member, mommy’s specialty is felines; but, we’ll try to find the answer to any questions posed. And, purrlease be as specific as pawssible when askin’ behavioral questions and include any purrtinent examples.

 

 

Dezi laying in cat tree in new harness

 

 

 

The followin’ post will be written in human English fur reader and translator ease. Our Service Cat posts aren’t intended to be an all inclusive Trainin’ Manual but rather Tips, Tricks and Techniques used/developed by mommy A thru her many years of animal trainin’, cats in purrticular. And to offur insight into your questions about Everything Feline. Always remember, Training is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards.

 

Raena posing in her harness on the small cat perch

 

 

 

   As me said, we have a very important topic to discuss today. Unfortunately, it’s a topic that often gets overlooked until it’s too late. Nobody wants to think about death, much less talk about it. We often hear things like, “That’s so morbid”, “Why do you want to talk about that?” “You’re/I’m still young, there’ll be plenty of time for that stuff later.” But, the truth is, no one is guaranteed tomorrow, no matter who you are or how old you are. And, as long as animals are classified as Property under the law, we all need to talk about it and make plans for it and for our beloved furry family members. So, Let’s talk about what happens to your pets when you die. 

 

Raena lays on shower bench

Property? Do I’s look like property to you? Hmmmpht

 

 

 

   That’s right, Fluffy/Fido, your beloved fur baby is nothing more than Property according to the law. We’re just another car, china plate or piece of furniture that needs to be managed. The only difference is that we require constant care in the form of food and water and potty breaks. And of course anyone who has ever been owned by a four legged furry knows, we’re not property. We have feelings and are no doubt confused and grieving when we lose our family members. For those people who live alone, it becomes extremely important to have a plan in place for your furry children in the event of your death, otherwise, we’ll most definitely end up in some shelter somewhere, alone and afraid. Please, don’t assume that someone in your family will take care of your fur baby after you’re gone. It would be great if that were the case, but more often than not, things don’t happen that way.

 

Put It In Writing:

 

  So, you’re ready to make preparations, where do you even start? The first thing you need to do is be prepared to Put It In Writing. We can’t stress that enough. No matter what plans you make, you need to have them written down and a copies given to all involved and one placed in your “important papers” drawer/file. If you live in an apartment or rental house, give your landlord a copy as well as a written notarized statement/notice that this person is allowed to enter your residence and remove the animals after your death. Include any phone numbers of this person and be sure to keep the notice up to date. As we stated earlier, no one is guaranteed tomorrow. It’s also a good idea to have a back up plan/person (trustee) in the event that things change with the named person/trustee (ie: death, disability, marriage, divorce, illness, etc.).

 

Example permission notice

Example of simple permission notice

 

 

 

If you have a will or other legal notices, speak with your attorney about putting in a clause with your wishes for your beloved furry(s). However, because of the very nature of wills (subject to probate or contesting) it’s a good idea to make preparations for Fluffy/Fido as a separate document, such as a Trust or Power of Attorney. You might want to check your States’ laws and guidelines with regards to pets. This notice should include all pertinent information such as whether the named person/trustee will be adopting Fluffy/Fido or merely providing temporary accommodations until Fluffy/Fido can be placed in their new permanent dwelling. You should also include things like what food, treats, litter and favorite toys Fluffy/Fido need. How many times and what time(s) of day is Fluffy used to eating, or when does Fido go for walks. Include up to date medical records, and list any health issues as well as any medications and directions for giving them. List the Vet’s name, address and telephone number as well as the last time Fluffy/Fido was seen and for what. List any quirky behavior or behavioral issues Fluffy might have. Now’s not the time to hide bad behavior. You want these arrangements to work out, so be honest. This will be a stressful time for everybody and Fluffy’s new caretaker should know what to expect so they can make the transition go as smoothly as possible. 

 

Example of Instruction sheet

Example of an instruction sheet

 

 

 

   You’ve checked the laws, spoken with an attorney, and are ready to make your plans…what’s next?. It’s always a good idea to check with family and friends. Fluffy/Fido might already be used to them and the transition might be easier with familiar people. This is going to be a stressful time for everyone including Fluffy/Fido, so anything that can make it less stressful is always best.  Just remember, Put your wishes In Writing, even if the person taking custody of your beloved furry is your husband, wife, adult child or some other friend or family member. This document can be something as simple as a notarized written and signed statement to a legal trust or power of attorney. If you are able, it’s also nice to allocate “Care Funds” to be used by Fluffy/Fido’s new caretaker. This should also be written down with any instructions needed to access those funds.

 

Care Funds:

 

   “Care Funds” can be allocated in a will, but remember, those funds may not be available immediately, so you may want to check out other options, such as a Trust or Savings account. You can list a POD (pay on death) on the account when you open it with your bank. That means the person you name cannot access those funds until after your death. But, unlike a will, those funds can be accessed immediately. Fluffy’s going to need to eat before the probate court finishes with your will, so a trust or savings account may be the better option for you. Mommy says anyone willing to take on Fluffy/Fido should be willing to take on their expenses as well, but we also understand some animals have a little more ‘baggage’ (chronic illnesses, old age, etc.) than others and therefore require more financial care. So, Yes, anytime a Care Fund can accompany Fluffy/Fido it will make things easier in the long run. 

Example adoption contract

Example Adoption Contract, courtesy of petrescue.com/library

 

 

 

Adopted with a Return Contract:

 

   Another thing to consider when planning for Fluffy’s life without you is where Fluffy came from. Did you adopt from a shelter or rescue? Or, did you purchase from a breeder? Some rescues and breeders have clauses in their adoption/sale contracts that state that Fluffy/Fido must be returned to them if you can no longer care for them. If this is the case, you will need to have someone responsible for contacting the rescue/breeder so that Fluffy/Fido can be returned. This person should should be listed on any notices required to access your home or apartment to remove Fluffy and return him/her to said rescue. The notice should also list the rescues’ name, address, phone number and contact person. When returning Fluffy/Fido to the rescue/breeder be sure your trustee knows to send the information about Fluffy’s likes, medical records and any favorite toys to make the transition go easier. 

 

What happens when friends and family can’t take Fluffy:

 

   You’ve asked friends and family, and no one can take Fluffy after you die, what do you do now? You might want to check with your Vet, they may know of an organization that can help. There are a few organizations in both the U.S. and U.K. that will take on Fluffy/Fido after your death and let them live out their lives with the rescue. However, most of these places require a substantial “donation” accompany said pets. Unfortunately, this is not a viable option for many pet owners. However, mommy says it never hurts to ask, all they can do is say no. If they do agree to take Fluffy after your death without that substantial donation, GET IT IN WRITING!!! Make a copy for your records and theirs and let the person/trustee you chose to transport your beloved furry to their future home know. Your trustee will need to know who to contact and what kind of arrangements have been made for getting Fluffy to the organization/their final destination. The trustee should also include the information about Fluffy’s likes, medical records and any favorite food and toys to make the transition go as smoothly as possible.

 

Euthanization as a Last Option:

 

   Another thing one needs to consider when making arrangements for Fluffy’s future without you, is Fluffy’s overall health and age. Rehoming or returning to a shelter or rescue may be too hard on Fluffy in the first place. You may have to consider Euthanasia as the best option. However, this is probably the most controversial option. But, at the end of the day, nobody knows their pets as well as the person who spends every day with them. In other words, you and only you know what’s best for your beloved furry. And, as long as the law sees animals as Property, it’s up to you to make the right decision for them. If this is the option you choose, make certain the person you have chosen to to see this through is willing to uphold your wishes…PUT IT IN WRITING and make sure they sign it and know this is the best option. If this is your choice you should put enough money aside to pay for this and let your “trustee” know where to find it. You may be able to carry a credit with your Vet to cover this expense when the time comes, you’ll just need to check with their office. Be sure to keep up to date on your Vet’s policies and prices with regards to euthanization.

 

Dezi lays in wheelchair looking at camera

 

 

 

Miscellaneous Money Options:

 

   There are a few options one might consider to provide funds for Fluffy’s future without you. You might want to take out a life insurance policy on yourself and list your trustee or rescue organization as the beneficiary. If you do this, you need to make sure all family members are aware of this so they don’t try to contest it’s validity when the time comes. Money can make people mad, and we don’t mean angry. You might want to take a CD or Bond at your bank. Again, you can list your trustee/organization as the POD (pay on death). Whether you can provide money for Fluffy’s continued care after you’re gone or not, shouldn’t be the deciding factor in who will take care of Fluffy. We suggest making a list of the things you think are most important to the daily care of your beloved furry and then evaluating the people you know based on that list. Once you’ve narrowed your list to those that you think would make the best care giver for Fluffy after you’re gone, open the subject with them. Try to be patient, they may need some time to consider your request before agreeing to take on your beloved. And you might be surprised at who says no. But, don’t give up.

 

Raena stands on scratcher with paw lifted

Don’t leave our future to chance. We luvs you too much.

 

 

 

 

Final Thoughts:

 

   This is a very important and serious matter. Any responsible pet owner should have a plan of some kind in place. No one is going to live forever and none are guaranteed a tomorrow. So, planning for your beloved furry’s future without you is the responsible thing to do. None of us really want to think about it, but we must. Again we are going to stress the importance of Putting Everything in Writing. We also suggest that you place notices on any outer doors so that emergency personnel know there are animals inside, and how many and what species. Mommy keeps a photo of us on our door along with a notice. You can get the “Animals Inside” decals that alert emergency personnel from the ASPCA for free  by filling out the form at the aspca.org/take-action/order-your-pet-safety-pack website. We also recommend carrying an emergency alert type card in your wallet or purse that has a list of emergency contacts and who to contact first or in the event of which emergency. We also recommend that your emergency contact have the number to the trustee you’ve chosen to take care of beloved furry family member(s) if they’re not one and the same. Another thing you can do is put a list of those contacts as well as emergency care instructions or who to call for Fluffy on the refrigerator. Most emergency workers are trained to look for those kinds of instructions on the fridge or a bathroom mirror. Just be sure this information is easily found and up to date.

 

Dezi lays atop the liberty cat tree looking down at Raena jumping off, blurry blooper

Yep, this is our blooper foto entry.

 

 

 

Well, this sure is a long posty. But, we do hope we’ve helped some of you or at least reminded you to have these conversations if you haven’t already. Another thing mommy suggests is to review and update all the information in your ‘purrtant papers’ file yearly. Numbers change, people move in and out of your life and let’s face it, ain’t none of us gettin’ any younger; so our health and eating habits may change over the years. Mommy says the most ‘purrtant thing to ‘member is to keep everything updated and keep it in Writing. Never assume somepawdy is gonna take care of your beluvved pets after you’re gone. ‘Stead, make a plan and KNOW that they’re future is secured according to your wishes. We were asked this meownin’ ifin we would be includin’ templates fur the forms we suggested today. Unfurtunately, mommy didn’t have time to get them ready fur this post, so we will be postin’ those at a later date for you to copy and use. Don’t furget you can ketch up on any post in this series by clickin’ the links on our Training Tips and Everything Feline page from our menu. And leave your questions and post suggestions in the comments below or send us an email via our Contact page. We’re linkin’ up with Comedy Plus fur Feline Furiday and we’re also joinin’ our new furiends the Cuddlywumps fur Pet Photo Fails Bloopers

 

Till the next time……………………………………………..Be Blest!!!

 

Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses 

 

Deztinee and RaenaBelle       

Service Cats: You Asked We Answered

MeOW  Welcome one and all to Service Cats and Everything Feline on Furidays. Step right up and get your every question answered. No tickets or green papers required. MOL Me’s just havin’ a little fun with ya’ today. But seriously, today is the day we try to answer questions asked by you, our furiends and readers ‘bout Trainin’, Health, Behavior and Anything and Everythin’ else. Mommy says that all kitty’s, just like children are much happier with a little bit of Training. We know not every kitty out there is going to be a Service Cat, but every kitty out there should be a well behaved and well luvved family member. And, that’s where these post come in handy. Ifin you’ve missed any posts in the series you can ketch up by clickin’ Training Tips and Everything Feline on our Menu above. You’ll find links to all relevant posts there as well as a contact form to submit your own questions or topic suggestions. You can also ask your questions in the comment section of this or any Service Cat post. Let’s get the business outta the way and get on with today’s topic. 

 

Raena sits posing in her tiger harness

 

 

 

 

The followin’ post will be written in human English fur reader and translator ease. Our Service Cat posts aren’t intended to be an all inclusive Trainin’ Manual but rather Tips, Tricks and Techniques used/developed by mommy A thru her many years of animal trainin’, cats in purrticular. And to offur insight into your questions about Everything Feline. Always remember, Training is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards.

Dezi in harness

 

 

 

We often get asked questions that don’t require a whole post, or a variation of questions we’ve already written about. If we’ve already written about a topic and there’s nothing new to add or expound on, we will direct the asker of said questions to the previously written post(s). Please don’t think we’re not taking your question seriously. We take all your questions seriously and expect you to take our response seriously as well. If we’re sending you links it’s because we don’t have anything new to offer.

 

Dezi lays in wheelchair looking at camera

 

 

 

 Anyways, here’s a question mommy A gets at least once a month. “Do you Train other people’s cats/dogs/etc.?” The answer is Yes and No. Mommy used to hold Training classes when she was involved with a Rescue group and lived in a larger city. She has done one on one in home Training when asked. Of course, we live in an area now where people don’t regularly teach their dogs to sit, so there’s not much call for advanced Training and certainly none for Cat Training. That being said, we’d be happy to come to you to assist in Training your beloved anipal; but the cost of travel, lodging and a meal a day would be your responsibility. Depending on the tasks you’re seeking to Train, you may be able to find a Trainer locally. Often times you can find Trainers thru your VET, the shelter or pet stores.

 

Shad lays on chair back

 

 

 

We’re asked a variation of these questions on at least one of our social media sites weekly: “How can you have Service Cats when the ADA says they can’t be? Where did you get your Service Cats?” First and foremost, the ADA does not say Cats can’t be Service Animals; they just don’t recognize them as such. If you’ve read Shad’s story you’ll know that mommy happened to have a cat at the time of her accident who Trained herself. Mommy then took what Shad did and developed Training Techniques to Train other cats. As for where mommy’s Service Cats come from…all have been rescued from one situation or another. There is no specific breed that makes a better Service Cat. And, other than Shad, mommy has Trained each cat herself. 

 

Doberman clip art

 

 

 

The last question we’re going to address today is about implants. Yes, we actually mentioned those neuter implants the other day because we received a question about them. The question was: “How do you feel about ear cropping, tail docking and the surgeries required to correct floppy ears and other aesthetics for animals? Do you think my male cat would spray if he had implants after his neuter?” That’s kind of a loaded question. We’ll admit there’s nothing quite so intimidating as the look of a cropped, docked Doberman or Pitty; but who is that for? Yes, a floppy eared long tailed dobie isn’t quiet as menacing as his cropped counterpart, but he/she is still the same dog. Humans are so concerned about aesthetics that they often do things to animals that isn’t medically necessary and can cause major health issues.

 

Testicle Implants

Testicle implants: foto courtesy of neuticles.com

 

permastay ear implants

Ear Stay Implants: foto courtesy of neuticles.com

 

 

 

 

 

The neutered cat or dog doesn’t really miss his testicles. Removing the testicles also removes the high production of testosterone. It’s the testosterone that causes a male to mark/spray and not the testicles themselves. The implants don’t actually produce hormones of any kind, so one would assume there wouldn’t be any spraying. But, there is absolutely no need for Fido or Fluffy to have implants. Often times those cropped ears have cartilage breaking resulting in a floppy ear and require further surgeries and implants to make them stand up straight. None of these surgeries are medically necessary for the health and wellbeing of the animal in question. We realize that breed standards may call for these procedures, but that doesn’t make them right. People should concern themselves with the health and well being of the animals and worry a lot less about their appearance. Please spay and neuter your pets. They’re much happier and healthier, and skip the implants.  

 

Raena lays sleeping in the Gen7 stroller

 

 

 

Well there’s really no Training Tips involved in today’s post, but we do hope we’ve answered these purrticular questions to your satisfaction. These are only our opinions. We have a great post planned for next week about Planning For Kitty’s Future without you. Do you have any purrticular questions about this subject you’d like answered? What kinds of concerns do you have? Do you have a plan already in place? Don’t furget, you can ketch up on any post in this series by clickin’ on Training Tips and Everything Feline on our menu above. Purrlease leave your questions or topic suggestions in the comments below or send us an email via our Contact page. When asking behavioral questions, purrlease be as specific as pawssible. We’re also linkin’ up with Comedy Plus fur Feline Furiday.

 

Till the next time………………………………………Be Blest!!!

 

Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses 

 

Deztinee and RaenaBelle  

Service Cats: How to Keep Kitty’s Name off the Bite List at the VET

MeOW  Welcome to Service Cats and Everything Feline on Furidays. We’ve got a great topic today so stay tuned. And ‘member you can leave your questions or topic suggestions in the comments below or send us a purrivate email via our Contact page. And as always, you can get caught up on any post you may have missed by clickin’ the links on our Training Tips and Everything Feline page from our menu. Remember, we’re no longer listing names per reader request. There is no dumb question. Mommy says no one purrson knows everything about everything. We all have to start somewhere. By the way, you’ll notice a little different structure today. Let us know ifin ya’ like it.

 

 

Dezi laying in cat tree in new harness

 

 

 

The followin’ post will be written in human English fur reader and translator ease. Our Service Cat posts aren’t intended to be an all inclusive Trainin’ Manual but rather Tips, Tricks and Techniques used/developed by mommy A thru her many years of animal trainin’, cats in purrticular. And to offur insight into your questions about Everything Feline. Always remember, Training is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards.

     One of the questions we get asked most is about taking kitty out in public and making sure kitty’s comfortable and calm. Whether it be to the VET or on an adventure, people want to know that kitty isn’t stressed out. We discussed preparations for taking kitty to the VET last week. If you missed it, you can read it here. Today, we’re going to follow up a bit on that topic. The question is, “Kitty appears/is calm during the initial VET visit and suddenly ‘goes nuts’ and bites when the VET/tech with metal mesh gloves takes his/her temperature. What caused this and can we stop it from happening in the future? ” Another question that goes along with this is: “How can I keep kitty calm during the exam itself? The VET and techs are concerned about bites and scratches and want to sedate kitty or wear gloves or other protective gear when handling kitty.” 

 

 Dezi sits in stroller

 

 

 

Feeding off the Energy:

 

     Let’s take a look at the first question. You’ve done everything right and kitty is nice and calm. Even the waiting room didn’t stress kitty out. So why then is kitty suddenly going “nuts” and biting? Remember, we always stress that kitty will feed off the emotions of those around him/her, so it’s really important that you remain calm and thinking positive thoughts. But, it’s also important for the VET’s staff to not only be professional but calm. If a kitty has never shown any signs of biting, then no one should be wearing metal mesh gloves during any part of the exam. Quite frankly we were appalled when we read the question. Mommy wouldn’t let anyone near us wearing such armor gloves. We suspect this kitty reacted to the tentative touch of the tech who most likely was also feeling a bit apprehensive. There was no initial signs that the gloves would be needed and should never have been worn. VET appointments are rarely fun, but mommy likes to keep them as stress free as possible, so that we remain calm each time we have to be in the office. All it takes is one bad experience to cause kitty to react poorly and stress at all future appointments. And YES, it is possible to change the behavior of a kitty who does have a history of biting, scratching or fighting with a VET/tech. It just takes a little time and patience and the cooperation of your VET and their staff.

 

 Dezi and Raena stare intently out the door from the liberty cat tree

You can see the purple calming collar  in the foto.

 

 

 

 

Calming Options:

 

      We don’t have Feline only VETs in our parts, but, you might look into them in your area. Obviously, an office that caters to cats should be better equipped in knowing how to deal with them. Another option, is an office that has separate waiting rooms to help keep kitty calm. A lot of people have great success with calming sprays and plug ins. It might help every kitty/doggy if your VET had them in the rooms and waiting area. You might suggest them to your VET or gift them to your favorite VET’s office. Don’t forget, you can also spray kitty’s carrier and the towel or clothing inside kitty’s carrier as well. You might also want to look into a calming collar. They’re fairly inexpensive and can be used only when needed. While in the waiting room, you should speak calmly to kitty and remember to praise them and let them know how proud you are of their great attitude and calm demeanor. And yes, do this even if kitty is hissing or cowering in their carrier. Remember, the idea is to calm or keep kitty calm so the appointment goes off without any problems. And don’t leave kitty unattended at any time. We even go to the bathroom with mommy when all the time necessary.

 

 

Dezi sits on exam table at vet office

 

 

 

The Exam:

 

     During the appointment mommy makes sure to remain in our line of sight at all times. She stays calm and blows us kisses and slow blinks. When she has to hold us down for tests, injections, etc., she makes sure to calmly and quietly praise us for our good behavior. Yes, it’s usually the techs’ job to hold kitty, but mommy knows that we stay calmer when she does it. We know mommy’s touch and can feel the love radiating down thru her hands instead of apprehension from someone who doesn’t really know what to expect from us or how we’ll behave/react to certain touches, pokes and prods. At no time does mommy let us out of her sight. The office policy may be, no owners in the back, but if you’re a calming effect on kitty, exceptions will be made. If not, you may want to look for another VET. Mommy’s policy is: If they can’t do “it” in front of her, then they probably shouldn’t be doing it all. She’s seen perfectly calm kitties suddenly get written up in their file as ferocious/biter after a trip to the back for a blood draw or weigh in. And, she’s seen some pretty incompetent techs trying to find veins or restrain kitty. So she completely understands how a kitty can become stressed and lash out. That being said, if you can’t remain calm, you need to work on it and pray for a great office.

 

Raena in stroller at Petco looking at birds

 

 

 

Working Together:

 

     Mommy says more often than not, kitty will react the way people are expecting. Tech wears bite glove, kitty bites. Guess they got what they were expecting. So, if the VET/tech comes in the room clad in armor, kitty’s probably going to act out. Kitty is feeling everyone’s stress and reacting in kind. Our VET and his staff have a lot of shortcoming’s, but, they usually enter the room calmly and completely ignore kitty. We either start sniffing him or mommy presents us to him/her and then the exam begins. Unfortunately you can’t change a VETs personality or actions, but you can suggest ways they can deal with your kitty that will make kitty more comfortable. After all, you know your kitty better than anyone else. Remember, this is a relationship. Kitty can’t speak, so the VET is looking to you for cues on what is and is not normal with kitty. A good VET is going to want to make the visit as stress free as possible. Nobody wants to get bit or scratched.  

 

 Dezi lays atop the liberty cat tree in calming collar

 

 

 

Well, we’re gonna wrap it up fur today. We’ve covered a lot of infurmation, and we do hope it helps. Sometimes Training is as much about Training the human on how to behave as it is kitty. Always remember, calm is good and Training is best achieved with Repetition and Rewards. Teaching kitty to remain calm at the VET is just as important as Training kitty to use a litter box or where to scratch. Don’t furget to leave your questions or topic suggestions in the comments or send us an email via our Contact page. And, you can ketch up on any post in this series by clickin’ the links on our Training Tips and Everything Feline page. Join us here each Furiday to learn more about the mysterious feline in your life and what makes us tic. MOL We’re also joinin’ Comedy Plus fur Feline Furiday.

 

Don’t furget to let us know ifin ya’ like the new outline with sections??.

 

 

Till the next time………………………………………………….Be Blest!!!

 

 

 

Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses 

 

Deztinee and RaenaBelle

 

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